Eating the right foods and the right amounts of foods can help you live a longer, healthier life. Research has proven that many illnesses—such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure—can be prevented or controlled by eating right. Getting the nutrients you need, such as calcium and iron, and keeping your weight under control can help. Try to balance the calories you get from food with the calories you use through physical activity (select for more information about physical activity). It is never too late to start eating right. Here are some helpful tips.
Eat a variety of foods, especially:
Vegetables. Choose dark-green leafy and deep-yellow vegetables.
Fruits. Choose citrus fruits or juices, melons, and berries.
Dry beans (such as red beans, navy beans, and soybeans), lentils, chickpeas, and peanuts.
Whole grains, such as wheat, rice, oats, corn, and barley.
Whole grain breads and cereals.
Eat foods low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, especially:
Poultry prepared without skin; lean meat.
Low-fat dairy products.
Weighing too much or too little can lead to health problems. After age 45, many people gain too much weight. You can control your weight by eating healthy foods and being physically active. For more information, select the next section, "Physical Activity."
Ask your health care professional:
What is a healthy weight for me?
What are some ways I can control my weight?
Keep track of your weight. Use your personal prevention chart.
Research shows that physical activity can help prevent at least six diseases: heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity (excess weight), diabetes, osteoporosis, and mental disorders, such as depression. Physical activity also will help you feel better and stay at a healthy weight. Research suggests that brisk walking can be just as good for you as an activity such as jogging. Try to do a total of 30 minutes of constant physical activity, such as fast walking, most days of the week.
Before you start being physically active:
Talk with your doctor about ways to get started.
Choose something that fits into your daily life, such as walking, gardening, raking leaves, or even washing windows.
Choose an activity you like, such as dancing or swimming.
Try a new activity, like biking.
Ask a friend to start with you, or join a group.
Make time for physical activity, start slowly, and keep at it.
If the weather is bad, try an exercise show on TV, watch an exercise tape in your home, walk in the mall, or work around the house.
Sexually transmitted diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, are passed easily from one person to the next through sexual intercourse. STDs are more common in people under the age of 50. But, if you or your partner have other sexual partners, you are at risk for STDs. You can lower your chances of getting an STD by using a latex condom every time you have sex. If you have not taken this step, you may need testing for STDs.
HIV and AIDS. AIDS is a disease that breaks down the body's ability to fight infection and illness. AIDS is caused by the HIV virus. By preventing HIV infection, you can prevent AIDS.
People in midlife and those who are older can become infected with HIV. In fact, 10 percent of all AIDS cases in the United States have occurred in people over the age of 50.
Just as the right
kind of fuel is important for Navy jets, so is the right kind of fuel for the
human body to support optimal performance. The HPW Department understands the
barriers to eating healthy. We have the educational resources and materials you
need to help you select nutrient dense, healthy food for optimal performance,
disease prevention, and recovery.
Sailors and Marines assigned to Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence
Training Center run with students from Princess Anne Elementary School during an
Adopt-A-School program event at the 7th annual Beach Fun Run at Dam Neck Annex.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Indra
Heart disease is the number one
killer of both men and women in the United States and worldwide.1
Many young people think of heart disease, a form of cardiovascular disease, as
something to worry about as you get older. However, it's not unusual to see
young adults in their 20s and 30s exhibiting unhealthy behaviors that can
contribute to the development of heart disease, such as smoking, poor diet, and
lack of physical activity. They may assume they can stop the behavior and "right
the wrong" before any damage is done. The truth is, although heart disease is
normally diagnosed later in life, it is a progressive condition. By the time
symptoms are present, damage has already occurred.
The Asymptomatic Attack
There are many forms of heart
disease, the most common of which is coronary heart disease (sometimes called
coronary artery disease). Coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs when the walls of
the arteries supplying blood to the heart become narrow or hardened due to
plaque build-up. The build-up is called atherosclerosis.2
Atherosclerosis occurs over time; contributing factors can include modifiable
risks such as3:
As the plaque accumulates, most
will not experience any symptoms or have any indication that there is a problem.
By the time an individual experiences symptoms, the plaque has often been
building up for decades. For many people, the first sign of atherosclerosis is
when the build-up has narrowed the arteries enough that the heart muscle does
not receive sufficient amounts of blood and oxygen. This causes chest pain, or
angina, and can lead to a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms vary, and women
often experience more vague symptoms than men, such as nausea, back pain,
extreme fatigue, or indigestion.4 Although lifestyle changes may be
all some individuals need to treat atherosclerosis, others will need daily
medications, medical procedures, or surgery.
Current research is confirming what
health professionals have believed for years – certain unhealthy behaviors in
young adulthood have a negative physical impact on one's body, even though they
may feel healthy and fit. The impact of an unhealthy lifestyle is not always
immediately evident, and negative outcomes like cardiovascular disease develop
over time. In fact, research has shown atherosclerosis to be present in the
arteries of 20 and 30 year olds. Atherosclerosis was found to be more prevalent
among study subjects with behavioral risk factors for heart disease, including
high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity.5
An additional concern for the
military population is emerging research linking post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) and heart disease.6-8 Although the reasons why remain unclear,
studies indicate individuals with PTSD have a higher prevalence of heart
disease, even when taking into account health behaviors that increase risk for
heart disease such as smoking, depression, and obesity.7,8 While PTSD
is present in both veteran and non-veteran populations, it is much more common
among veterans, particularly those exposed to combat.6 Ongoing
research to understand the long-term effects of PTSD are continuing and will be
important for both service members and providers.
A Pill-Free Prescription at Any
Although the numbers about heart
disease seem grim, the good news is heart health can be improved at any age.
Here are some tips for delaying or preventing heart disease:
For more information on how you can reduce your risk for heart
disease, visit the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center's Heart Health Toolbox and check out the American Heart
Association's "The Simple 7."
1. The top 10 causes
of death. World Health Organization Media Centre.
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/. Updated July 2013. Accessed
January 15, 2014.
2. National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute. What is coronary heart disease?
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cad/. Updated August 23,
2012. Accessed January 10, 2014.
3. National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute. Who is at risk for coronary heart disease?
August 23, 2013. Accessed January 10, 2014.
4. National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute. What are the signs and symptoms of heart disease?
September 26, 2011. Accessed January 16, 2014.
5. Webber B, Seguin P,
Burnett D, et al. Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Autopsy-Determined
Atherosclerosis Among US Service Members, 2001-2011. JAMA.
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=1487497. Accessed January 10,
6. Norris F, Sloan L.
Understanding Research on the Epidemiology of Trauma and PTSD. PTSD Research
Accessed January 16, 2014.
7. Vaccarino V,
Goldberg J, Rooks C, et al. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Incidence of
Coronary Heart Disease : A Twin Study. Journal of the American College of
January 15, 2014.
8. Boscarino J. A
Prospective Study of PTSD and Early-Age Heart Disease Mortality Among Vietnam
Veterans: Implications for Surveillance and Prevention. Psychosom Med.
Accessed January 17, 2014.